Tag: weather

NASA looks at ‘snow-killing’ atmospheric river storms

Study findings aid forecasters, water managers

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Animation of an atmospheric river storm that occurred on Jan. 28 through 30, bringing half an inch to an inch of rain to many locations in central and southern California. Credits: University of Wisconsin/CIMSS.

Staff Report

The famed Pineapple Express touted by skiers in the Western U.S. may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of bringing fresh powder, the the atmospheric river storms, as they’re technically known, more often bring snow-destroying rain to many areas.

A new study by NASA and several other research institutions took a close look at data from satellites and ground observations from 1998 through 2014 to show the connection between atmospheric river storms and rain-on-snow events. According to the study, the atmospheric rivers are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” events, which increase flood risks in winter and reduce water availability the following summer. Continue reading “NASA looks at ‘snow-killing’ atmospheric river storms”

NASA tracking this year’s global El Niño impacts

Wildfire risk growing in tropics

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A strong El Niño is peaking across the Pacific Ocean this winter.

Staff Report

Along with being one of the strongest El Niños on record, this year’s edition of the cyclical weather event in the Pacific will be one of the most studied.

NASA, for example, has been tracking the effects of El Niño via satellite data, which shows global impacts, from increasing fire danger in some tropical regions to a reduction of certain types of pollution in other areas.

Some of the findings were presented this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, where researchers said that atmospheric rivers, significant sources of rainfall, tend to intensify during El Niño events, and that California may see some relief from an extreme multiyear drought. Continue reading “NASA tracking this year’s global El Niño impacts”

Summer rains keep Colorado mostly drought-free

El Niño projected to bring above average autumn precipitation

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Spring and summer rains helped make up for a winter snowfall deficit in Colorado, where statewide precipitation was 98 percent of average 10 months into the 2015 water year. Graph courtesy NRCS.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Serious drought conditions persisted across the far West in July, but Colorado’s wet spring and summer helped boost the state’s water supplies and stream flow forecasts going into the late summer and fall. Only two small slices of the state have experienced abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Continue reading “Summer rains keep Colorado mostly drought-free”

Climate: U.S. July 2015 temperature near average

More heat records set in Pacific Northwest

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Ten states reported slightly cooler than average temps in July 2015.

Staff Report

FRISCO — July 2015 was record-warm across a large part of the Pacific Northwest and the southern tip of Florida, and well above average for most of the West, with near- to below average temperatures in a big swath extending from the central U.S. into the Northeast.

Taken all together, the monthly average temperature for the lower 48 states was 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, ranking near the middle in the 121-year period of record, according to the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Continue reading “Climate: U.S. July 2015 temperature near average”

Colorado: Flash flood warning covers DIA

Intense thunderstorm drops 2 inches of rain in northeast Denver

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Moisture streaming northeastward across Colorado has triggered another round of heavy thunderstorms.

FRISCO — With rain gages picking up anywhere from 1 to 2.5 inches of rain over northeastern Denver, the National Weather service has issued a flash flood warning for Denver International Airport and surrounding areas.

Flooding is expected in northern Aurora, northeastern Commerce City, Brighton, Denver International Airport’s terminal concourses and Barr Lake.

The flash flood watch is in effect through 9:30 p.m. The NWS is urging people to move to higher ground: “Act quickly to protect your life.” Small creeks and streams will overflow, with danger spots along highways, especially at underpasses.



			

May precipitation breaks records in southern Colorado

Wet spring boosts streamflow forecasts

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Miracle May?

Staff ReportFRISCO — Statewide precipitation was more than twice the average, federal water watchers said in their June update. The rain and snow, along with cool temperatures at higher elevations, delayed the onset of runoff and boosted streamflow forecasts for the summer. “This substantial addition of moisture, both in the form of snow and rain have notably increased water supply forecasts across the state from a month ago,” said Brian Domonkos, the Colorado snow survey supervisor for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading “May precipitation breaks records in southern Colorado”

Drought disaster declared in northwest Colorado

USDA declaration opens door for emergency aid

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Staff Report

FRISCO — While spring snow and rain have slightly eased Colorado water woes, the situation is more serious in the northwestern part of the state, where three large rural counties have been designated as a contiguous disaster areas due to drought.

Senator Michael Bennet announced the designation today, saying that the U.S. Department of Agriculture declaration makes farm operators in thise counties eligible to be considered for federal assistance, including Farm Service Agency emergency loans.

“Producers on Colorado’s western slope have faced drought conditions that are damaging their goods and hurting local economies,” Bennet said. “These disaster designations will allow farmers and ranchers to access critical assistance to help them deal with any losses to crops or livestock.”

Producers in counties designated as primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers and ranchers with additional information.

The drought declaration came after a winter of well-below normal snowfall and near-record warmth in the region.